A Northampton woman with an 11-year-old son in remission from leukaemia says she is on the brink of homelessness because letting agents are unwilling to accept a council rent deposit scheme aimed at helping people avoid such a fate.
Barmaid Carley Buswell and her son Jack have been through “hell” over the past five years after the youngster was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2011.
But now the two are facing homelessness because her landlord is selling the flat she has lived in since 2009.
The 34-year-old was told she was not eligible to go on the emergency list for a social home - which has an estimated 21 week waiting list.
As a result she was offered Northampton Borough Council’s Deposit Bond Scheme - which helps cover the cost of a deposit on a private home, which can sometimes be as much as £1,000 for a small apartment, an amount she just does not have.
However she claims to have tried to sign tenancies with several major letting agencies - none of whom have been willing to accept the scheme.
“For me it’s horrible because jack has been through so much over the past few years and we were just starting to get back to normal.
“I’m a single mum, so I can’t just can’t find that sort of money in such a short space of time.”
If Ms Buswell cannot find a home by June 21, she believes she will be left in temporary accommodation.
As she used the Deposit Bond Scheme to move into her current house she is not expecting to receive any money back when she moves out. She does not blame her landlord for her situation however, and says they have a good relationship.
“When I first moved into this house I was full of praise for the scheme,” she said.
“There were no properties on the council housing register for me so this was a great alternative.
“But now estate agents are say I need to stump up a cash deposit because they have had bad experiences with this scheme before.”
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Mary Markham, said: “The amount of time that an applicant will spend on the Housing Register before they are offered a council home will depend on the size and type of the accommodation they need, the degree of priority they have been given, and if and how applicants utilise their bids on the Housing Register.
“The shortage of social housing in Northampton exacerbates the time that an applicant will wait on the Housing Register before being offered a council home, it also contributes to the high demand for private rented accommodation in Northampton. Whilst there is a significant demand, there is a shortage of good quality, affordable private rented accommodation.
“Many private landlords are serving notice on their tenants because they want to increase their rents and let to different tenants who can afford to pay a higher rent. There is a shortage of landlords willing to rent to people on low incomes, and people who may need the assistance of rent assistance schemes such as the Deposit Bond Scheme which underwrites the value of a cash deposit.
“Lots of people are losing accommodation because landlords are increasing their rent, and lots of people are unable to secure private rented accommodation because the upfront costs are so high.
“It is hoped, however, that the council’s access to good quality, affordable private rented accommodation will improve when it establishes its Social Lettings Agency, relaunches its rental deposit scheme and starts bringing empty homes back into use in 2016/17,” Councillor Markham added.